Fears That Tort Reform Could Stalemate Terrorism Insurance Bill
Congressional negotiators are trying to hammer out a compromise over terrorism insurance legislation, but some industry lobbyists fear the effort could still become stalemated over the issue of tort reform.
Several lobbyists told National Underwriter that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., will lead the Senate negotiating team on the issue of tort liability.
This means, these lobbyists say, the House leadership will probably appoint Sen. Leahys House counterpart, House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., to lead the House negotiators.
And therein, they say, lies the problem. Both Leahy and Sensenbrenner are viewed as ideologues who are less likely to reach a compromise on the controversial issue of tort reform than other members of the House-Senate Conference Committee.
“Chris Dodd and Mike Oxley could work out a compromise on tort reform,” one lobbyist, who asked not to be identified, says, referring to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley, R-Ohio.
“But Pat Leahy and Jim Sensenbrenner cant reach a compromise on anything,” this source says.
The differences between the House and Senate terrorism insurance bills on the issue of tort liability are striking.